Militarism in Germany

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The day of Potsdam , Hindenburg , Blomberg , Hitler, the old military and new National Socialist power elites form an alliance
The rank and file 'established King Tiger ' with Henschel - tower in 1944. In the era of National Socialism has been since 1936 heavy industry to a military-industrial complex restructured to be able to produce such a device in mass production.

The German militarism as an important intellectual and socio-penetrating flow evolved with the advent of standing armies in the 18th century. The numerical increase in armed structures in the Holy Roman Empire was offset by an expansion of military forms of life far into the civil society sector. A separate jurisdiction, compulsory military service, but also the isolation of military personnel from civil society with the emergence of barracks since the end of the 18th century intensified this process. Several dozen German states had their own armed forces around 1800. In addition to the large Prussian army , Bavaria , Saxony , Wuerttemberg , the two Hessian states ( Kurhessische Army , Hessen-Darmstadt Army ), Hanover , Baden and Münster had medium-sized armies of up to 35,000 men. The former German Austria was also part of the German cultural area until 1866 and had a decisive influence on German military culture .

The 19th century saw the connection between militarism and nationalism . Strong reactionary and right-wing conservative forces determined the character of the dominant Prussian army. The army became the “school of the nation”. As such, millions of young German men as conscripts and reservists in the army institution went through a socialization process lasting several or long years . As a socially respected class, they contributed to a strongly adapted, uniformistic and hierarchically oriented society. Paramilitary structures with a mass character formed in German-speaking countries . In the 20th century, German militarism reached its climax with the two world wars , which have been followed by strong anti-military and pacifist , nonconformist and “colorful” civil movements ( 1968s ) in society since 1945 and until today .

After 1945, Germany's development and militaristic characteristics were considered unique in international opinion and particularly negative in this form ( Sonderweg thesis ). The emphasis and focus of "the" Germans on their military, combined with a strong, state-centered belief of its citizens, were seen as the causes and pioneers of fascism .

Conceptual definition

The term German militarism contains two separate strands of explanation:

  • 1. Militarism in the narrower sense, which presupposes the decisive influence of the military on life in civil society. The German Empire, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich were militaristic states in this regard.
  • 2. The concept of militarization , according to which civil society systems and members begin to organize themselves according to military principles and imitate military forms. This is what happened in the GDR. The old Prussian state also had the features of a militarized state.

Both 1st and 2nd occurred together and alone in German history.


The roots of German militarism on a grand scale are seen in Prussia in the 18th and early 19th centuries and the subsequent establishment of the German Empire under Prussian leadership. The German -speaking Nobel Prize laureate Canetti underlines the general importance of the army for the Germans after the French War of 1870/71 : “Citizens, peasants, workers, scholars, Catholics, Protestants, Bavaria, Prussia, everyone saw the army as the symbol of the nation . "

The Brandenburg-Prussia military monarchy

Pickelhaube (symbol of Prussian militarism)
Richard Knötel : Friedrich Wilhelm I in the Lustgarten while inspecting the Potsdam Infantry Regiment Lange Kerls

Since 1648, German territorial princes were allowed to maintain their own army on a permanent basis. The time trend went towards an expansion of the military structures and thus towards the establishment of permanent armies in Europe, while until then mercenary armies were only recruited when needed . During the reign of the "Great Elector" in the second half of the 17th century , the Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm, increased the size of the Prussian army to up to 30,000 men in times of war, disempowered the colonels , thereby disciplining the wild Soldateska in the long term and the violent attacks on civilians that had been customary up to that time structurally decreased. A tight military administration, monitored by the War Commissioner , began to develop. In order to strengthen his power both at home and abroad, the “soldier king” Friedrich Wilhelm I began in Prussia in 1713 with military reforms and focusing on everything military. At this time the forms of social life in Prussia began to focus on the military. The army became an end in itself for the state. Accordingly, in the informal hierarchy of meaning, the state was initially there to maintain the army and only then was the army there to protect the state. Annual military spending amounted to 73% of the entire Prussian annual budget. Since that time, military dignitaries at the Prussian court held a higher rank than civil officials. Even in contemporary analyzes, this led to evaluations that classified Prussia as a military monarchy, i.e. the feudal princely state was primarily based on the military class. At the time of his death in 1740, the Prussian army had grown to a standing army of 83,000 men, one of the largest in Europe at a time when the entire Prussian population was 2.5 million. The Prussian military writer Georg Heinrich von Berenhorst later wrote in retrospect, “The Prussian monarchy will always remain - not a country that has an army, but an army that has a country in which it is, as it were, only quartered.” (An often falsely Voltaire and quote attributed to Mirabeau ).

Despite the militarization of public life in Prussia, there was not the same enthusiasm for the military in the 18th century as it was later in Wilhelminism . The military status continued to be disreputable and hated. The overall reputation of the military is low. The loads by the billeting was felt by the civilian population as oppressive. The excesses around the partially violent commercials ensured until the introduction of Enrollierungssystems that young men fled from Prussia and deserted.

From the 1740s through the 1760s, in a long series of wars of aggression , Frederick the Great took advantage of the country's formidable armed forces built by his predecessors, effectively elevating Prussia from a small to a large power in Europe. Even after 1763, the army retained the highest state priority in order to ensure the main goal of maintaining and securing the state internally and externally. Prussia was still in the "constant stress of continuous overexertion" for the army, at the expense of the training of civil society forces.

The other important German states deliberately chose different paths. The Electorate of Saxony had given up any ambitious foreign policy after 1763 and saw for himself the limitations of its military assets and potential one. Instead, it focused on soft cultural and economic means of power and limited the influence of the military to a certain extent. In principle, the other medium-sized German states proceeded in the same way, none of which had any prospect of becoming a great power.

Standardization, social discipline in the 18th century

In the course of early modern social development, new social impulses came into play at the beginning of the 18th century, which, initiated by the emerging early modern state, caused new institutions to be formed and society as a whole began to differentiate . The army in particular became the most important and largest instrument of the princely state that was forming and reaching deep into society.

The uniform uniformity emanating from the army, line tactics with uniformly timed marching of larger crowds, discipline specifications, command structures and hierarchies became important new collective social competencies that made it possible to set up increasingly complex structures and organizations when carried top-down .

Militarism joined the equally spreading bureaucratism , fiscalism and statism as an important force in this differentiation process. In this development phase he was a progressive force in society and inhibited the use of violence in the population and instead brought about an orderly and targeted cooperation of many individuals with personally diverging interests towards a unified and overarching goal, regardless of the individual.

People's army instead of mercenary army

With the French Revolution , the early modern era ended and a new era began, with new structures and changing institutional rules that also included the military sector. The third estate and the bourgeoisie began to demand a political say. The Prussian military but also the state and its feudal social model were at this point in a persistent qualitative stagnation phase. It only partially took up innovations. The army fell behind the standard of performance of the leading armies. In the First Coalition War, the Prussian army, as a military protective organ of the feudal-absolutist princely state, was no match for the sans-culottes fighting for their freedom for a nation-state under the leadership of the Third Estate . The soldiers lacked a special internal cohesion that went beyond the application of sanctions and punishments. In addition, a significant part of the princely armies of this time was occupied by foreigners who, as temporary mercenaries, had no particular ties to their homeland. Since the French soldiers performed the service of the weapon out of inner conviction, they were able to perform far more flexible forms of combat outside of the rigid line formation. For fear of large desertions in battle, the Prussian army leaders did not dare to make combat tactics more flexible. They continued to trust the rigid line formation , which was secured by non-commissioned officers to the rear with the side gun against those who refused to give orders. This tactic proved to be clearly inferior to the French shooting tactics .

After Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Prussia in 1806 , one of the conditions for peace was that Prussia should reduce its army to no more than 42,000 men. So that the country could not be conquered again so easily, the King of Prussia drew in the permitted number of recruits for a year, trained this group, then dismissed them and moved in another of the same size and so on (see under body system ).

The army officers came almost exclusively from the land-owning nobility. This enabled the noble class of the Prussian Junkers to have a lasting influence in the Prussian state. The army command was now increasingly open to the commoners.

The Prussian reforms that followed the military defeat led to the establishment of an army that carried the popular idea of ​​the required citizen in uniform. The class boundaries were softened and instead of compulsion, the conviction to serve the weapon was supposed to guarantee a greater bond and cohesion of the troops. The brutal disciplinary punishments ( running the gauntlet ) have been abolished. The troop leader should henceforth lead with a personal role model and not with his side gun directed against his own people . Pedagogy and the recognition of a legitimate emotional apparatus (fear) of the individual soldier entered the training culture of the army. This was followed by the introduction of a militia-like national armed forces, the land armed forces and conscription.

The army as the King's Praetorian Guard and as a state within a state

The restoration of absolute royal and princely power after 1815 meant the failure of the bourgeois reformers in the entire German Confederation. Constitutions were only introduced in some German states in 1830/31 and in Prussia after 1848. The initially weakened educated bourgeoisie recovered from this initial setback and began to form a movement for more consultation in state institutions again throughout Germany with the pre- March period . It culminated in the civil-democratic revolution of 1848 . After initially having to withdraw, the ruling powers and elite had all popular uprisings suppressed by force of arms. The German armies were thus primarily used as internal police organs to maintain state order. The armed forces, however, were not mindless machines that could be used by the leaders at any time in their favor. In the domestic political struggles from 1815 to 1933, the German armies instead pursued their own independent policy aimed at fighting the democratic forces. The political forces had to constantly take this institutional power actor into account and integrate it into their own political programs if they did not want to be in danger of being threatened by the military.

After the Battle of Sedan , 1870 ( General Reille brings Emperor
Napoleon's letter to King Wilhelm on the battlefield of Sedan ) by Carl Steffeck (1884) - The Prussian (and later German) Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (next to the center of the picture) with General Helmuth von Moltke (middle group of three on the left) and General Albrecht von Roon (ibid. middle). Although Bismarck was a civilian politician and not a military officer, he wore a military uniform as part of the Prussian militaristic culture of the time.
The "real" political figures behind the Prussian king: Otto von Bismarck , Albrecht von Roon , Helmuth von Moltke (from left to right), photo montage 1863

The brother of the Prussian king was then branded as a " grape prince " and was henceforth the epitome of German militarism and reaction. The economically leading upper bourgeoisie began to come to terms with the situation and increasingly focused on the economic sector, while the state sphere with its army continued to be dominated by the old elites from the East Elbe nobility. From then on, the momentous alliance between Junkers and the (Rhenish) bourgeoisie firmly shaped the state structure that was bound up with Prussian militarism. The military spirit and its logic began to spread far into the civilian realms. The educated middle class , which had promoted the democratic process largely remained as a political force from then weakened back. Its enlightened and humane values ​​and ideals, which until then served as the spearhead of civil society development, were retained. However, compared to the growing militaristic and right-wing conservative thinking of the population, these had a more difficult position than before. In contrast to the Western democracies, the bourgeoisie did not succeed in building an independent class consciousness . The new economic elites of the bourgeoisie also imitated the feudal ways of life and thinking of the old elites, instead of confidently going their own way. No new wave of democratization followed until 1918. From 1850 to 1918, industrialization and the solution of the resulting social question in the course of the strengthening of the working class were at the center of development. For the army, this meant that it was not a people's army that defended the interests of the people, but was merely the instrument of order of a self-appointed autocrat . Like the neighboring quasi-autocracies of the Russian Empire or Austria-Hungary, Prussia and Germany thus had a structurally strong, retrograde political constitution.

At the time, Prussia had a peace army of 140,000 soldiers and a reserve contingent that allowed a war strength of 470,000 soldiers. A homogeneous officer corps committed to the monarchy, who rejected any idea of ​​a liberal constitutional state and acted independently domestically, ensured that the Prussian soldier spirit was retained in the army and that progressive social impulses could not penetrate the army as an institution.

After 1848, the old East Elbe elites of Prussia adopted part of the original demands of the bourgeois reformers in their own political program. This enabled you to gather large sections of the bourgeoisie behind the monarchical regime and to weaken the bourgeois freedom movement as a whole. In the following decades up to 1914, the former idea of ​​patriotism turned into a radicalized and militaristic nationalism , whose supporters and sympathizers across all social classes and classes increasingly possessed racist-discriminatory ways of thinking coupled with their own ideas of superiority (delusions) .

In the imposed constitution of 1850 in Prussia, the supreme command of the army was held by the king, not the parliament. The army increasingly began to isolate itself from civil society. It became a “state within a state”. In particular, the right to grant budgets became the subject of domestic political struggles in Prussia ( Prussian constitutional conflict ). The main issue was the constitution of the army as a “royal army” or “parliamentary army”. The monarch and arch-conservative forces ( Bismarck , von Roon , etc.) once again felt threatened by any claims to power by parliament and reacted with polarization and confrontation. The disputes came to a head in 1862 over the question of three years of service. The conflict did not end the institutionally narrowly limited position of the Prussian legislature in military matters. The old Prussian (military) elites continued to set the tone and democratic forces remained the weaker party.

The German unification process from 1860 to 1871 was made possible by the military and was the result of victorious wars. They enabled the army's status to be upgraded in terms of German society. The previously much scolded resentment of Prussian militarism disappeared. In the newly emerging nation-state, the military was given the role of the identification platform for society as a whole, to which everyone referred. In contrast, in countries such as France or the United Kingdom, parliament and other state institutions formed the anchor of integration.

Armaments, technological progress and the formation of a military-industrial complex

4-pounder field cannon C / 67 of the Prussian army from the 1860s, built by Krupp

In the 1850s and 1860s, there was a wave of technical progress in the field of military technology . Compared to earlier times, from now on, new weapon models were added to the army at shorter intervals. The change from muzzle-loading to breech- loading weapon systems in handguns or artillery was completed. The rate of fire, range and accuracy increased sharply. Communication technology made a leap forward, and means of transport such as the railroad made faster army movements possible. Warfare was made more flexible. The destructive ability of the armies of that time was significantly increased overall. In these transformation processes, the German armies, led by the Prussian army , were among the top performers worldwide.

From then on, the expansion of the army and keeping pace with industrial and technical developments formed systemically relevant parameters. Evidence of a military-industrial complex has been in Germany since 1890 at the latest . The relationship between the government, the armed forces and corporations such as Krupp was increasingly concerned with the utilization of capacities in addition to weapon technology solutions . There were monopolies . The Krupp company secured the equipment for the heavy artillery. Heinrich Ehrhardt equipped the field artillery since 1905. The army and, to a greater extent, the navy formed an important field of interest for business monopoly interests. The interests of the armaments companies and the interests of the army were closely intertwined.

Militarism as a mass movement in the German Empire

Imperial parade on the occasion of the autumn maneuver in southern Germany in 1909
Wilhelm with his sons on the Schloßbrücke on January 1st, 1913

The structural militarism in Prussia, which was successfully established and defended until 1849, remained in the period that followed high industrialization and could no longer be successfully threatened by civil democratic forces until the collapse of the German military system in 1945. This was followed by the "classic era of German militarism", which lasted from 1871 to 1945 and represented the climax of the development of this social formation. "Bourgeois-nationalist militarism" established itself as the new internal trend of German militarism. Compared to the previous feudal-conservative approach, which was supported by Bismarck, among others, this was egalitarian rather than elitist . In terms of foreign policy, this trend did not focus on the status quo, but on expansion.

The industrial mass production of weapons, the steady increase in the population with growing numbers of conscripts, new technologies, and the increasing penetration of society by more and more state institutions led to a paradigm shift. The centralization of military planning by the General Staff in the second half of the 19th century and the inclusion of ever greater social resources led to a growing importance of the military role in state planning. The border between the military and politics became more fragile. Ultimately, the conception of wars with armies of millions around 1900 led to a general expansion of the war zone. All levels of government and society were incorporated into the military sphere.

The feudal-militaristic (old, East Elbe ) elite succeeded in integrating the upper bourgeoisie through the institutions of the “ one-year -old ” and the “reserve officer”. In return, the increased national prestige of the military benefited from the victory over France and the imperial coronation in Versailles.

It was also possible to involve the peasant population and the working class . The means to achieve this was the general three-year conscription. The authoritarian, nationalist drill conveyed to a large part of society the militaristic orientations and values ​​desired by the old elite. War was presented as an element of the order willed by God, which was not controllable and therefore war was ultimately inevitable. Women too were predominantly at the service of the 'national cause'. Pacifism in today's sense played no significant role in this society. Even the anti-militarist discussions within the labor movement were not aimed at a non-violent solution to conflicts.

Italian propaganda cartoon The Greedy . Kaiser Wilhelm II trying to devour the world.

Socially, there was a high degree of structural abuse of people who were hierarchically higher than those of lower ranking. Soldiers could be mentally and physically tormented, punished draconically and damaged for their lives. In the military, this form of unconditional submission was lived structurally as harassment in the context of military service. The everyday consciousness of the Germans was determined by their belief in the army and soldiers' virtues. Abuse was generally tolerated and perceived as tolerable. In the German public, at least the SPD dealt with the excesses of militarism. August Bebel gave an example in 1890 in a speech in the Reichstag on the fate of a recruit who had been abused as an invalid , and who was forced by his superior to put his hand in hot water until the meat hung from his fingers. As a result of such excesses, up to 20,000 young men deserted every year. Many recruits preferred suicide to harassment. The vast majority of all social classes, however, ultimately adopted the arbitrary laws and the claim to power of the military caste.

After Bismarck's departure, a mixture of psychotic and masculinistic misperceptions of the dominant male elites in politics, business and civil society gained the upper hand in German imperial and social politics. Germany was suddenly endangered when considering the times of these actors. «It was surrounded by enemies and could not trust anyone». This attitude has become a common belief. In the General Staff, falcons such as Count Waldersee recommended preventive wars in order to keep the initiative. Extra-parliamentary organizations with a large number of members, such as the Pan-German Association , the Wehrverein , the Naval Association , drummed for armaments on land and on water. Both militarism currents, the old feudal-conservative and the new bourgeois-nationalist, vied for the decisive influence on the army and politics in domestic politics. Eventually, the newer militarism gained the upper hand and from then on determined foreign and domestic policy. This new trend lacked a coherent foreign policy concept. Its misleading internal logic gave rise to a programmatic rhetoric that left the impression that Germany was alone in the world. Since the reality was different and the counter-reactions from abroad regularly led to meek retreats of this group, a dangerous "martial twisting course" arose in foreign policy.

Large-scale naval armor and steadily growing land forces increased the number of uniformed and armed forces. The empire had an ambitious militarist caste that saw itself as invincible and longed for a great war. For the generals, war was an effective political means of solving external problems. Bismarck's unification policy, which envisaged war as a solution strategy (“ blood and iron ”), had established this thinking in the population as well. Accordingly, for the Germans, having their own power and strength was more important than the legal idea. The entire people trusted in the strength of the German armies. In doing so, the empire provoked corresponding reactions from the other great powers. There was a chain of events that also led to increasing armament and readiness for war internationally.

The subject ; a film poster exhibited in the House of History in Bonn
Potsdam, spring parade in front of the city palace

The educational ideals and forms of socialization typical of the time included military images and forms. Proponents of the militarization thesis include the following common social habits:

  • Nursery with soldier games , tin soldiers , cannons, entire garrisons in small format
  • Drum rolls and saber rattles accompanied every monument unveiling, every inauguration or opening
  • Design of the interaction patterns between authorities and citizens according to the model of command and obedience
  • militarized manners in the student associations of the empire: z. B. ritualized drinking ( pubs ), a military concept of honor, constant readiness to fight and tests of courage ( fencing scales )

As a rule, only a good half of a year was drafted into military service in the German Empire. In 1913, the German Reich had a population of 68 million and an armed force of almost 900,000 soldiers. In relative terms, a little less than compared to France, which had a force of 845,000 soldiers with a population of 40 million.

The soldier's status gained an aura in the population that was borne by a particularly high level of esteem, respect, and awe. Because of their uniform, uniform wearers held a more or less hierarchically higher position everywhere. The stylistic appearance of a uniform wearer, characterized by a tight posture, jagged greetings but also a choppy and unnatural pressed voice and speech movements determined the image of masculinity and the image of the typical German in the world at that time. Military parades , imperial maneuvers and the launching of battleships became social events and delighted the population. The tone of Wilhelm II. In his speeches became more and more aggressive and contained partly direct, partly indirect calls to kill other (“hostile”) groups of people. Below is a quote from Wilhelm II's speech in the Huns .

If you come before the enemy, they will be beaten! Pardon will not be given! Prisoners are not taken! Whoever falls into your hands will fall for you! Just as the Huns made a name for themselves a thousand years ago under their King Etzel , which still makes them appear powerful in tradition and fairy tales, so may the name of Germans in China be confirmed by you for 1000 years in such a way that it will never be again Chinese dares to look curiously at a German! "

Around 1900 the publicly widespread incident of Captain von Köpenick showed the German public the problematic and great importance that militarism had already gained in Germany. The Zabern affair of 1913 also mobilized considerable opposition. But this remained a minority and there was no turning back. The spreading military sentiment paired with aggressive chauvinistic imperialist ideas of world domination by large parts of the new German bourgeoisie remained in the initiative.

The fact that this came to a head was due to the spreading political Darwinism , which was also prevalent in other European countries at the same time. This was made worse by the development of theories of militant geographers and economists who introduced the concept of living space , but also by Nietzsche's philosophy of life with the glorification of the strong-willed master man . Passivity and cowardice were now considered sinful. Pacifism and humanity were marginalized. The European journalism of this time longed for the great "steel bath" with disturbing adventures.

The first climax in the First World War

Troop transport to the front August 1914

In the late summer of 1914, in the course of the July crisis, the wishes of the “masses” were fulfilled and the so-called August experience came about . The paranoid perceptual perspective of the entire German people saw Germany encircling at this time . There was a collective feeling of being surrounded "by a lot of enemies who are all after you". The permanent state of emergency , which was constructed as a state of siege by public authorities and journalists (so-called truce ), suspended the legislature . The bulk of civilians have been spiritually indoctrinated on the home front. The critically related speech acts of public discourse ended and an ideological synchronicity set in which, in the intellectual perception, allowed all Germans to merge "into a single army".

The war itself penetrated all social classes. In addition to the mobilization of millions of German men, the economy was converted to meet the needs of the war . Supply bottlenecks on the home front led to symptoms of deficiency and even hunger. War propaganda continued to determine German public opinion.

The military elite also bet on usurping political power. Moltke the Elder demanded in 1870/71 that the military must be able to act completely independently of politics in war. The military leadership built parallel structures to the state administration. During the war, the Supreme Army Command actually held political control. The empire slipped into a military dictatorship .

Personalities who distinguished themselves in the war were stylized as heroes and experienced mass glorification with a great role model effect for the growing generation of children and young people who emulated war glory. Such "heroes" were Paul von Hindenburg (the hero von Tannenberg), Max Immelmann , Manfred von Richthofen , Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck or Otto Weddigen , who sank three large British warships within a few minutes, causing the deaths of 1,500 people. Corresponding romanticizing and glorifying war literature such as Felix Graf Luckner's “Seeteufel” had a lasting recruitment and imitation effect on subsequent generations of adolescent male adolescents. The martial and violent war propaganda ("Every shot a Russ, every thrust a French, every kick a Brit"), which structurally promoted the people's affinity for violence, contributed to the unfavorable socialization and communication of violence - affirming self-images of the young growing male generation. The Young Germany Federation was also shaped by the military . The bourgeois youth movement, both the Wandervogel and other youth movement groups, showed themselves to be extremely ready to interpret the world war not only as a patriotic duty, but also as a “great journey”, as a departure into a new era and as a physical and mental test that was moved by young people . The youth movements wanted to have an exemplary impact on society through voluntary war reports. It was in this context that the Langemarck myth was born.

“Langemarck's Day will always be a day of honor for German youth. […] Whole sheaves fell on him from the prime of our youth […]; but the pain for the brave dead outshines the pride in how they knew how to fight and die. "

- German daily newspaper, November 11, 1915.

This militaristic cult also had a socialization-shaping effect on later generations.

The key figure in the late Wilhelmine generation of scholars, Werner Sombart , wrote the book Dealers and Heroes during the war in 1915 , in which he paid homage to the primacy of military interests in the country.

“Everything related to military matters has priority with us. We are a people of warriors. The warriors deserve the highest honors in the state. "

- Werner Sombart

Foreign countries, some of which were already in a state of war, reacted increasingly negatively to these ideologically motivated escalations. It understood contemporary Germany to turn away from its Christian-humanistic legacy towards a barbaric force hostile to civilization. In England, for example, the Prussian-German military system was seen as criminal and the struggle against it was legitimized as a civilizational and moral system. The historian and publicist Henry Wickham Steed formulated the program “Changing Germany” based on the assumption of German militarism.

Paramilitarism and revanchism after the First World War

Emblem FK Roßbach.png
Emblem of the "Freikorps Roßbach" and inner attitude of many radicalized World War II fighters
Bundesarchiv Bild 119-2815-20, Wismar, Kapp-Putsch, Reichswehrsoldaten.jpg
Freikorps Roßbach during the Kapp Putsch in Wismar

President Friedrich Ebert walking through an honorary company on the Platz der Republik in Berlin, 1923

After the armistice, an army in the millions was in the process of disarmament. An army of millions of emotionally blunted and disinhibited front-line fighters, weaned from civilization during the war years, returned home and experienced a devastating process of upheaval in all areas of society. Politically, these combat-experienced masses remained delicate and dangerous for the central government. Ultimately, extremist combat groups were formed, which intervened in the political process as private volunteer corps on their own account. Right -wing national voluntary corps, but also radical left groups such as the Red Ruhr Army, continued militaristic structures outside the state security organs. In 1920 the Kapp Putsch took place, an attempted coup against the Republican government by dissatisfied members of the armed forces. After this event, some of the more radical militarists and nationalists of the NSDAP joined Adolf Hitler , while more moderate ones joined the German People's Party (DNVP) instead . In 1923 the Hitler putsch took place in Munich. Throughout its existence (1918–1933), the Weimar Republic remained threatened by militaristic nationalism, as many Germans believed that the Treaty of Versailles had humiliated their militaristic culture. There were large right-wing militarist and paramilitary mass organizations such as the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, and illegal underground militias such as the Freikorps and Black Reichswehr . Founded in 1920, the latter two soon became the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary division of the NSDAP. They were all responsible for the political violence of the so-called fememicide and for the general civil war-like atmosphere until 1923. The danger emanating from these groups only diminished after the crisis year of 1923 , when the domestic political situation of the new republic had stabilized and normality returned.

The state-sponsored German militarism continued after the First World War and the overthrow of the German monarchy in the German Revolution of 1918-19 , despite Allied attempts to smash German militarism by means of arms restrictions through the Treaty of Versailles . In order to maintain political influence even after the end of the war, the OHL, which had become powerless in October 1918 due to the revolutionary events, successfully spread the stab-in- the-back legend . As a result, general revanchism met with a broad response from the German population.

The Wilhelmine and subsequent officer corps of the Weimar period had neither got over the defeat of 1918 nor its dethronement as a high school and the highest expression of the German nation. It wanted the old splendor to be restored. Despite externally imposed arms restrictions, the Reichswehr remained a state within a state and possessed a political weight of its own that could hardly be underestimated. Broad conservative circles as well as the leadership of the Reichswehr planned a war of revenge that would go far beyond a "revision of Versailles". The Reichswehr, for example, had been practicing “cold militarization” of the Weimar Republic since the early 1920s , which, under the pressure of the reaction and the authoritarian national complex, made other layers more susceptible to militaristic contamination. It was not about spectacular violations of the Versailles Treaty, but about routine military work with the aim of rearmament and the ability to wage major wars again. Ultimately, Hans von Seeckt ran a tour that wanted to fill old wine into new bottles, which the old imperial army wanted to transform into the new republic. Lines of tradition were able to continue with partial identities broken off at the same time.

The politician Ludwig Quidde or the pedagogue Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster and also the historian Franz Carl Endres or Eckart Kehr demonstrated the social militarism of the twenties with their work on armaments, elites and mentalities. During the Weimar period, the mathematician and political writer Emil Julius Gumbel published in-depth analyzes of the militaristic paramilitary violence that shaped German public life and the willingness of the state to respond benevolently when the violence was committed by the political right.

Elements of a new, pluralistic, differentiated society, such as youth movements, civic movements, advancing industrialization, social emancipation strengthened the social dynamism and encountered competition with traditional values ​​and social hierarchies. The position of the military in society did not change as a result. On the contrary, it retained its prominent function, also because, alongside the other state institutions, it adopted the attributes of the new era such as the demonstrative acceptance of the technical revolution. At the same time, the social structure of the army from the imperial era was preserved. The feudal-aristocratic element was able to remain in the officer corps. The orientation of the officer corps was officially described as a program of the "nobility of convictions". It distanced itself from parliament and democracy.

The height of militarism in the Third Reich and the post-war years

Stroop Report - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 06b.jpg
Task Force Murder Jews in Ivanhorod, Ukraine, 1942 (cropped) .jpg
The picture presumably shows the executions of Jews by Einsatzgruppen near Ivangorod in the Ukraine in 1942

The Third Reich after the Weimar Republic was a strongly militaristic state. German militarism reached its destructive climax during the Nazi era. The reintroduction of compulsory military service with the Defense Act of May 21, 1935 was followed by the establishment of large paramilitary state organizations such as the Hitler Youth , the Reich Labor Service , the SA , the SS and others. The army, navy and air force were purposefully upgraded for a planned war of aggression and annihilation ( armament of the Wehrmacht ). State and society developed a totalitarian and militaristic basic orientation with a very high degree of penetration. Personal forms of autonomy were drastically reduced and control by state apparatus expanded.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J28836A, Jungvolk platoon leader with Iron Cross, 2nd class.jpg
Young people platoon leader with Iron Cross, 2nd class, March 45
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-G0627-500-001, Award of the Hitler Youth Willi Huebner Recolored.jpg
Award of the Hitler Youth Willi Huebner, March 45

Even in the German Empire, the whole system was geared towards indoctrinating the growing individual about education , the desired military behavior and the self-sacrificing attitude towards the state. The social militarization of German society had a fatal effect in the context of Hitler's ideology of doom. The desired military socialization of children and youth was once again forced and systematized. For example, in military education, children's songs had the corresponding war-glorifying texts. Heinrich M. Sambeth's songbook for the elementary school "Sonnenlauf" opens with the Horst Wessel song "Die Fahne hoch", which has the saying:

“He who stands by the flag
must not let her.
If the porter falls too:
you have to grab it. "

is prepended. Intended as an addressee for first graders with the message, symbolism, language and the goal: sacrificial death . Another children's song that was composed by Konrad Ameln based on a text by Hermann Claudius contains the stanza:

“We want a strong united kingdom
for ourselves and our heirs.
For this we march, me and you,
and hundreds of thousands to do so.
And want to die for it. "

There were a number of forms of defense organization for adolescents. The Napola was intended as a prominent example especially for future elites.

Members of the Waffen SS, including soldiers from the Dirlewanger special unit , in Warsaw (August 1944). The operation of the special unit in the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising cost the lives of 30,000 people. The unit was known for its extreme cruelty and brutality, even for SS units. These included mass shootings, torture of prisoners, looting, rape, crimes against children and excessive drinking.

In accordance with the criminal character of the regime, the Second World War, begun by Germany and lasting until 1945, followed in 1939 . Countless war crimes were committed by Germans during the war. There was an extreme form of total war with previously unknown intensities. The entire German society, whose individual members adopted parts of the delusional thinking that emanated from the top of the state, was drawn into the war. In the final phase, an increasing number of children were involved in the war, and thousands of them were killed.

After its fall in 1945, militarism in German culture was drastically reduced as a backlash to the Nazi era, and the Allied Control Council and later the Allied High Commission oversaw a program of attempted fundamental re-education of the German people in general to make German militarism one for all Times to stop. English-language journalism acted as an external actor in specifying the abnormal German social characteristics of this period from 1815 (the beginning of the isolation of the military from civil society) to 1945 and identified Prussia as the intellectual basis of German militarism. For this purpose, the associations describing and characterizing German militarism were found, developed, disseminated and continuously repeated in English-language literature, both in general literature and in specialist literature . These included: cadaver obedience , submissive spirit , conformism , spiked bonnets, grim and sadistic junkers with throws in the face, but also general terms such as aggression, desire to expand and racism.

The German war criminals held on their own charges banks after 1945 usually always the argument and the conviction shown at least outwardly upright, it acted only on command. This expressed your “unbroken corps spirit ” from your point of view and your oath of loyalty , as a whole your own understood soldiery attitude, according to which you would only have acted as a soldier and therefore were not responsible for politically motivated actions. This led to the fact that a large number of German veterans in the post-war decades practiced systematic apologetics that led to the formation of myths and glossing over a " clean Wehrmacht ", which in the minds of the German majority of the population only in the 1990s through appropriate explanations, Exhibitions and documentation could be refuted.

Collective processing and waning in the Federal Republic of Germany

Andernach, Krahnenberg-Kaserne, Adenauer visits the Bundeswehr in 1956

The catastrophe of the Second World War led to a discrediting of German militarism, since the second total defeat had to be accepted within a few decades. An apologetics in the sense of a renewed stab in the back legend was almost impossible. The patriarchy was not abolished after 1945, one expresses itself Direction in militarism and indispensable rule faith machismo , however, was from then discredited. The German political leaders clearly expressed their willingness to draw a line under the country's military past.

In the early days of the Bonn Republic , the high militaristic starting level of German post-war society was still noticeable through its members, albeit with decreasing strength the older the war generation and the western and liberal-democratic post - war generation (1968) became. In the post-war period, for example, taboos regarding the negation of one's own complicity and fellow traveler role in German society spread. Large parts of the population that took part in the war were able to normalize their living conditions since the 1950s, and their peaks had found their way back into central social positions. Among them and in the center of the important institutions of the FRG were also prominent representatives of the Nazi regime. The newly founded army also showed a high degree of personal continuity with the Nazi dictatorship. In 1957 all 44 generals and admirals came from the Wehrmacht, mostly from the Army General Staff. This historically burdened command corps integrated their normative ideas of military virtues and militaristic traditions into the Bundeswehr in the 1950s. For example, barracks were named after soldiers and officers of the Third Reich who had also committed war crimes.

The German veterans of all branches of service maintained a dense network of veteran and traditional associations in the first decades after 1945 . In terms of the domestic political importance of West Germany, these associations remained low and they behaved loyally to the Bonn state (cf. a controversial example: mutual aid community of members of the former Waffen SS ). Researchers assume a number of 1,000 to 2,000 such associations. The majority of the former German soldiers remained outside these units after 1945. Between 10 and 35 percent of German veterans were represented in these organizations. The motives of the inactive veterans ranged from criticism of the military culture and a refusal to maintain memories of the events of the war. In contrast to the situation after 1918, the loss of meaning (“What for all this?”) That occurred after the war was defeated was not aggressively turned outside by the war veterans . Unlike after 1918, there was no broader revisionism idea, while solidarity with the other veterans was maintained. As historical-political actors, the veterans' associations contributed to the compensation and supply legislation of the young Federal Republic. You have also actively shaped the political culture of West Germany in the 1950s with your interpretation of the past. The collective war stories of the veterans were shared and thus became an integrative element in the development of a self-image for many Germans in the post-war period. Such stories essentially revolved around the stories of loss in war (dying, destruction, crime, but also military acts of war) and their mental processing.

In 1956, the first 1,000 volunteers of the newly founded Bundeswehr were called up. The construction of the Bundeswehr began. Every adoption of structural and ideological features of the military forerunners of the Bundeswehr was measured against the negative prejudices against Prussian-German militarism and the state-within-the-state syndrome. The re-emergence of German militarism should be prevented. Instead, mainly new standards of value developed and a reorientation began. From then on, the defense constitution of the Bonn state was based on a pluralistic, democratic basis. As a result, the reserve officers of the Bundeswehr no longer received the same privileged social position as in the previous German armies. Being a soldier became a profession that only stood alongside and no longer above any other civilian profession.

It turned out that the fears of many that German militarism would develop again when a German army was rebuilt were unnecessary. The rearmament of western Germany in the wake of the worsening Cold War was followed in the 1960s by major civil society protest movements, which in the 1980s resulted in large peace movements that were directed against the large-scale armaments programs of the time. Despite this, the numerical number of soldiers in the Bundeswehr reached half a million men again in the 1980s.

"Red Prussia" in the German Democratic Republic

Armored personnel carrier
70 of the NVA paraded in 1989 on Republic Day in Berlin

According to the understanding of the SED, state and army leadership in the GDR, a complete break with the previous German military culture and armed forces manifested itself in the character and mandate of the NVA . The military experience of the revolutionary German labor movement and the anti-fascist resistance struggle, but also the brotherhood in arms with the brother armies, were from then on in the focus of East German military culture. The East German discourse saw the causes of imperialism and German militarism in the capitalist form of society . East German social scientists analyzed and researched in particular the connections between the military-industrial complex (elite alliance of party, military, economy and bureaucracy) from 1871 to 1945 and their personal continuities in the Federal German Republic. The socialist regime clearly distinguished itself from this line of tradition and thus legitimized its own existence as a self-declared new beginning and break with these militaristic-social lines of tradition, regardless of any demonstrable personal continuities in its own ranks. Conversely, West German media representatives accused the East German regime of continuing collectivist forms of mass culture , which also represented a continuity of the totalitarian and armed society of the Third Reich. In the system confrontation that was taking place during the Cold War , both sides acted primarily ideologically and not in an argumentative-relevant manner, both in terms of their own as well as those of others. For example, West German structures avoided the term militarism in the 1950s for political reasons and in the context of the politically desired rearmament and in relation to themselves.

Due to the partial adoption of historical and mentality-historical features of the Prussian state, which was dissolved in 1947, into the new state, the term "Red Prussia" came up in West German journalism, which was intended to denote these relationships. The GDR state elite took over parts of the visible Prussian military culture in the military sector , which included field-gray uniforms, parades, military music, goose-step and the typical Prussian drill . A noticeable uniformism remained widespread in the civil organizations. For example, the pioneer organization showed certain external and organizational parallels to the Hitler Youth , but without representing the same intentions and motives.

Current historical research assumes a fundamental militarization of GDR society. Around 750,000 people, around ten percent of the workforce, were part of a network of military or paramilitary organizations. The militarized social structure, which was adopted as the basis of the new power elite in 1945, continued in the workers 'and peasants' state until 1989. However, the high degree of militarization did not lead to an aggressive and violent social orientation at the same time, as happened in the Third Reich. The militarization of the GDR was not directed externally, but internally and primarily served to secure the rule of the state apparatus. The real threat from the Western bloc was channeled through indoctrination and state propaganda and used for its own political interests, large parts were mobilized in this way, directed against an enemy image and indirectly controlled.

After Gordon Craig , the (inner) distance of the citizens of the GDR to the militaristic phases of German history grew in the 1980s. East German as well as all-German society had learned that owning an army had not been for the good of Germany as a whole in its recent history and that the military had the tendency to be a state within a state that promoted social progress and development hindered liberal democratic institutions. The GDR opposition movement Swords to Plowshares was part of a global peace movement that spoke out against armaments and war.

With the honorary parade of the National People's Army on the 40th anniversary of the GDR in Berlin in 1989, the "great era of military parades" ended in Germany.

Further loss of importance in the united Germany

The music corps of the Bundeswehr with the band UDO in Wacken (2015). The military culture has continuously changed and is now more complex and also contains purely civil society elements
Last Supper at the Bundeswehr on duty
Handball test match - ASV Hamm - Bundeswehr national team

After the end of the Cold War and the merging of the two German armed forces, the number of military personnel was permanently reduced. Extensive military material was scrapped. Each new generation of military equipment has remained numerically well below the family of weapons or equipment to be segregated. Of once tens of thousands of tanks (including the occupying powers) on all of Germany in the 1980s, significantly fewer than 1000 of these large combat units remained in 2019. The number of foreign troops has also fallen to a few tens of thousands. Large-scale military training areas were reopened for civilian use. Many garrison locations were permanently closed. Conscription was suspended in 2011. As a result, the number of uniformed people in the general public's appearance has decreased considerably, as has the number of civilians with military experience. Women were given access to the entire military. This also changed the character of the troop again. In the Bundeswehr there was a shift in the focus on the composition of tasks. Instead of territorial national defense, in the absence of an acute threat situation, the focus for a long time was on other tasks that were more in the nature of armed (quasi-civil) development work (building wells in arid areas, building schools, training foreign workers, basic medical care for poor sections of the population abroad, etc.) . As a result of the events in Crimea and eastern Ukraine since 2014, this task profile changed back to an equivalence of alliance and national defense on the one hand and foreign deployments on the other.

The increased participation of the armed forces in foreign missions as part of alliance obligations since the 1990s had led to a general acceptance and habituation , similar to that of the loser Japan , after initial major concerns in society. Participation in battles with the use of weapons is now part of the routine repertoire of tasks of the professionalized professional army .

The binding force of military rituals such as vows has decreased significantly since 1945 as the individualization of society has increased. At times, however, in the 1980s and after the turnaround about the swearing-in of recruits and the solemn vow, there were sometimes violent disputes . In some places the Bundeswehr was forced to renounce the public nature of the swearing-in of recruits.

The defense budget for 2019 is around 43.2 billion euros. Given the size of the German economy, this sum is not very high. Germany is regularly criticized by its alliance partner USA for the relatively low level of expenditure.

A number of amateur actors in Germany are dedicated to modern forms of processing such as historical re-enactments . As such, as actors they re-enact historical military events and dedicate themselves to the knowledge of uniforms and weapons. An equally folkloric glorification of the former military uniform cult can also be found in the carnival clubs.

Helmut Schmidt (quote)

Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt confessed in his speech at the public pledge of recruits before the Reichstag on July 20, 2008 in Berlin:

“In the schools, in the churches, in the factories, we were trained and trained in obedience to government and the state. As early as 1941, since our attack on the Soviet Union, it was clear to me that I was twenty years old at the time, that Germany would lose the war. It would end in disaster. Nevertheless, I remained patriotically minded and believed: If my country is at war, then I have to do my duty as a soldier. My father did the same in 1914. "


Werner Klemperer Bob Crane Hogan's Heroes.jpg
Persiflage of the 1960s on German militarism from the outside: Hogan's Heroes , Colonel Klink and Colonel Hogan
The Great Dictator still cropped.jpg
The German Führer cult (“Führer befiehl, we follow!”), Which was made possible as a result of the lived state centrism and militarism of the Germans at the time, was also part of the Anglo-American cultural view (here: The great dictator ) on Germany at that time

A large number of people were directly affected by German militarism as perpetrators and victims. A large number of people around the world have been dealing with this special topic of German cultural history in various forms and media. In particular, the period from 1914 to 1945 was and is the period under consideration with the most thematic references to memories.

In keeping with the spirit of the times, depictions, products, works and written material that glorify and glorify the military are no longer part of the socially recognized mainstream in the 21st century, unlike from 1900 to 1945 . A critical presentation and discussion of German militarism predominates, which takes into account the seriousness of this topic in view of the millions of victims. The Wehrmacht exhibition is such a prominent example .


Literary processing


  • Wolfram Wette: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture. Fischer, Volume 18149: The time of National Socialism . Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2011, ISBN 978-3-596-18149-0 .
  • Gerhard Ritter: statecraft and war craft. The problem of "militarism" in Germany. 4 vols. Munich, Oldenbourg 1960–1968. ( Review ) (I: The old Prussian tradition (1740–1890). / II: The main powers of Europe and the Wilhelmine Empire (1890–1914). / III: The tragedy of statecraft. Bethmann Hollweg as war chancellor (1914–1917). / IV: The rule of German militarism and the catastrophe of 1918.)
  • Hajo Herbell: Citizen in Uniform 1789–1961. - A contribution to the history of the struggle between democracy u. Militarism in Germany. Berlin: Military Publishing House , 1969
  • Wette, Wolfram (Hrsg.): School of violence: Militarism in Germany 1871 to 1945. Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verl, Berlin, 2005, ISBN 3-7466-8124-3 .
  • Thomas Rohkrämer: The militarism of the "little people": The war clubs in the German Empire 1871-1914. (Contributions to Military History, Volume 29). 1990
  • Wolfram Wette (Ed.) Militarism in Germany 1871 to 1945. Contemporary analyzes and criticism. (Yearbook for historical peace research; Vol. 8) Hamburg: Lit 1999 table of contents
  • Günter Heyden , Matthäus Klein , Alfred Kosing : Philosophy of crime: Against the ideology of German militarism . Joint work by the Philosophy Chair at the Institute for Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the SED . Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften , Berlin 1959. (Contributions, inter alia, to: strategy of psychological warfare; clerical philosophy and militarism; atomic bomb philosophy; philosophical anti-communism as the ideology of the "free world"; socialism wins.)
  • G. Bruno : Le tour de l'Europe pendant la guerre. Paris 1916 digitized
  • Alfred Vagts : The History of Militarism: Civilian and Military , New York 1937; numerous reprints. content

Web links

References and footnotes

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  2. cf. Michael Mann : The Sources of Social Power. 1986, p. 488
  3. Hartwin Spenkuch: Prussia - a special history: state, economy, society and culture 1648-1947. 2019, p.36
  4. From the estate of Georg Heinrich von Berenhorst. Published by Eduard von Bülow . First division 1845. Aue publishing house in Dessau. P. 187 . Review in literary sheet (supplement to the morning paper for educated classes ) No. 48 of 7 July 1846, p. 191 top right
  5. Wolfgang Neugebauer: Handbook of Prussian History: Volume III, From the Empire to the 20th Century and Major Topics in the History of Prussia, Walter de Gruyter , 1992 Berlin New York, p. 354
  6. Stefan Kroll, Kersten Krüger: Military and rural society in the early modern times, rule and social systems in the early modern times, Volume 1, LIT Verlag, Hamburg 2000, p. 335
  7. Bet, Wolfram: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture, Darmstadt 2008, Primus-Verlag, 309 pp. ISBN 978-3-89678-641-8 , p. 27
  8. Stanisław Salmonowicz: Prussia: History of State and Society, Martin Opitz Library Foundation, 1995, p. 318
  9. ^ Diana Maria Friz: Where Barbarossa sleeps - the Kyffhäuser: the dream of the German Empire, Beltz Quadriga, Weinheim 1991, p. 202
  10. Bet, Wolfram: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture, Darmstadt 2008, Primus-Verlag, 309 pp. ISBN 978-3-89678-641-8 , p. 39
  11. Dietmar Willoweit, Ulrike Müßig: Constitutionalism and Constitutional Conflict: Symposium for Dieter Willoweit, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2006, pp. 211–213
  12. Jesko von Hoegen: Der Held von Tannenberg: Genesis and Function of the Hindenburg Myth, Stuttgart Historical Research, Volume 4, Böhlau Verlag, Cologne-Weimar-Wien 2007, p. 61f
  13. (Ed.) Wolfgang Neugebauer: Handbook of Prussian History: From the Empire to the 20th Century and Major Topics in the History of Prussia, Volume 3, Walter de Gruyter Verlag, Berlin-New-York 2001, p. 404f
  14. Bet, Wolfram: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture, Darmstadt 2008, Primus-Verlag, 309 pp. ISBN 978-3-89678-641-8 , p. 39
  15. ^ Andreas Dietz: The primacy of politics in the imperial army, Reichswehr, Wehrmacht and Bundeswehr, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2011, p. 56
  16. Elke Hartmann : The Reach of the State: Conscription and Modern Statehood in the Ottoman Empire 1869–1910, Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2016, p. 34f (text passage with general geographic reference to the military development in the period from 1869–1910)
  17. a b Bettina Musall: Militarism in the Empire. In: Spiegel Online . June 14, 2013, accessed May 16, 2020 .
  18. ^ Gerhard Ritter: The main powers of Europe and the Wilhelmine empire (1890-1914), second volume, series: Staatskunst und Kriegshandwerk - The problem of militarism in Germany, 3rd edition, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 1973, p. 133
  19. ^ Andreas Dietz: The primacy of politics in the imperial army, Reichswehr, Wehrmacht and Bundeswehr, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2011, p. 56f
  20. Ulrich Lappenküper : Otto von Bismarck and the "long 19th century": The living past as reflected in the "Friedrichsruher Contributions 1996-2016", Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2017, p. 48f
  21. Carola Groppe: In the German Empire: A history of education of the bourgeoisie 1871-1918, Böhlau Verlag, Köln-Weimar 2018, p. 377
  22. Carola Groppe: In the German Empire: A history of education of the bourgeoisie 1871-1918, Böhlau Verlag, Köln-Weimar 2018, p. 378
  23. ^ Carola Groppe: In the German Empire: A history of education of the bourgeoisie 1871-1918, Böhlau Verlag, Köln-Weimar 2018, p. 383
  24. ^ Speech of the Huns - reproduced from: Penzler, pp. 209–212. Online at the German Historical Institute in Washington
  25. Gerhard Ritter: The Main Powers of Europe and the Wilhelmine Empire (1890-1914), Volume Two, Series: Statecraft and War Crafts - The Problem of Militarism in Germany, 3rd Edition, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 1973, p. 120
  26. ^ Gerhard Ritter: The main powers of Europe and the Wilhelmine empire (1890-1914), second volume, series: Staatskunst und Kriegshandwerk - The problem of militarism in Germany, 3rd edition, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 1973, p. 136
  27. Niels Werber, Stefan Kaufmann, Lars Koch (eds.): First World War: Kulturwissenschaftliches Handbuch, JB Metzler, Stuttgart-Weimar 2014, p. 144
  28. Carola Groppe: In the German Empire: A history of education of the bourgeoisie 1871-1918, Böhlau Verlag, Köln-Weimar 2018, p. 463f
  29. Quotation from Bernd Hüppauf: Battle myths and the construction of the “new man” . 1993, p. 46.
  30. Jesko von Hoegen: Der Held von Tannenberg: Genesis and Function of the Hindenburg Myth, Stuttgart Historical Research, Volume 4, Böhlau Verlag, Cologne-Weimar-Wien 2007, p. 62
  31. Jörg Später: Vansittart: British debates on Germans and Nazis 1902–1945, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2003, pp. 38–40
  32. ^ Joseph Cornelius Rossaint: From the Second to the "Third Reich": Weimar, Faschismus, Resistance, Röderberg-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1986, p. 118
  33. ^ Rüdiger Hachtmann: Science Management in the "Third Reich": History of the General Administration of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, Volume 1, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2007, p. 113
  34. ^ Joseph Cornelius Rossaint: From the Second to the "Third Reich": Weimar, Faschismus, Resistance, Röderberg-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1986, p. 119
  35. Michael Geyer: Upgrade or Security. The Reichswehr in the Crisis of Power Politics 1924-1936, Franz Steiner Verlag, Wiesbaden 1980, p. 104f
  36. ^ Rolf-Dieter Müller, Hans-Erich Volkmann: The Wehrmacht: Myth and Reality. Special edition, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2012, p. 352
  37. ^ Rolf-Dieter Müller, Hans-Erich Volkmann: The Wehrmacht: Myth and Reality. Special edition, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2012, p. 354
  38. ^ Rolf-Dieter Müller, Hans-Erich Volkmann: The Wehrmacht: Myth and Reality. Special edition, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2012, p. 356
  39. ^ Advertisement from the publisher on Wolfram Wette: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture. Fischer, Volume 18149: The time of National Socialism. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2011, ISBN 9783596181490
  40. ^ Günther Noll , Deutsches Volksliedarchiv , Barbara Boock: Kinderliederbücher 1770-2000 - an annotated, illustrated bibliography, Volksliedstudien Volume 8, Waxmann Verlag, Münster-New York-Munich-Berlin 2008, p. 51
  41. ^ Günther Noll , Deutsches Volksliedarchiv , Barbara Boock: Kinderliederbücher 1770-2000 - an annotated, illustrated bibliography, Folksong Studies Volume 8, Waxmann Verlag, Münster-New York-Munich-Berlin 2008, p. 52
  42. Eyewitness report - see also Ingrao, 2006, pp. 134, 158, 181 f.
  43. David E. Barclay: Prussia's Disappearance A Foray Through Anglo-American Literature, p. 53
  44. Jens Westemeier : "So was the German soldier ...": The popular image of the Wehrmacht, Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, p. 312
  45. ^ Norbert Finzsch, Jürgen Martschukat: Reconstruction and reconstruction in Germany and the United States of America, 1865, 1945 and 1989, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 1996, p. 19
  46. Tim Seidenschnur: Controversy about the Wehrmacht: The debates about the Wehrmacht exhibitions through the generations, Tectum Verlag, Marburg 2010, p. 11
  47. Bet, Wolfram: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture, Darmstadt 2008, Primus-Verlag, 309 pp. ISBN 978-3-89678-641-8 , p. 223
  48. ^ Claudia Fröhlich, Horst-Alfred Heinrich: History policy: who are their actors, who are their recipients ?, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, p. 75
  49. ^ Claudia Fröhlich, Horst-Alfred Heinrich: History policy: who are their actors, who are their recipients ?, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, p. 78
  50. ^ Claudia Fröhlich, Horst-Alfred Heinrich: History policy: who are their actors, who are their recipients ?, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, p. 80
  51. ^ Thomas Biedermann: Income from a student, Verlag Thomas Biedermann, Hamburg 2010, p. 304
  52. Bet, Wolfram: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture, Darmstadt 2008, Primus-Verlag, 309 pp. ISBN 978-3-89678-641-8 , p. 10
  53. ^ Hans Gotthard Ehlert, Matthias Rogg: Military, State and Society in the GDR: Fields of Research, Results, Perspectives, CH Links Verlag, Berlin 2004, p. 303
  54. ^ Hans Gotthard Ehlert, Matthias Rogg: Military, State and Society in the GDR: Fields of Research, Results, Perspectives, CH Links Verlag, Berlin 2004, p. 307
  55. ^ Ulrich Albrecht : Armaments and the military in the Federal Republic of Germany, Yearbook for Peace and Conflict Research, Volume 5, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1977, p. 35
  56. Bet, Wolfram: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture, Darmstadt 2008, Primus-Verlag, 309 pp., ISBN 978-3-89678-641-8 , pp. 30f
  57. ^ Hans Gotthard Ehlert, Matthias Rogg: Military, State and Society in the GDR: Fields of Research, Results, Perspectives, Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2004, p. 362
  58. Bet, Wolfram: Militarism in Germany. History of a warlike culture, Darmstadt 2008, Primus-Verlag, 309 pp. ISBN 978-3-89678-641-8 , p. 10
  59. 100 years of military parades on Red Square, 1 DVD (book trade link)
  60. ^ Wilfried von Bredow: Military and Democracy in Germany: An Introduction, VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 1st edition, Wiesbaden 2008, p. 74
  61. Federal Budget 2019. Section 14. Federal Ministry of Defense. In: Federal Ministry of Defense, accessed on September 9, 2019 .
  62. ^ Defense budget: Defense budget 2019. In: Federal Ministry of Defense, accessed on September 9, 2019 .
  63. Quoted from: A history of warlike culture in Germany (Alexandra Kemmerer)